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Thailand - Prachuap Kiri Khan - Hua Hin
Hua Hin in Prachuap Kiri Khan province, about 3 hours drive south west of Bangkok, is probably the most popular coastal holiday resort in Thailand.
We visited Hua Hin in January 2008 and found a bustling sea side resort town, the development of what was originally a quiet fishing village, into the resort of Hua Hin started when King Vajravudh (King Rama VI - 1910-1925) had a railway station constructed during his reign, on the main Bangkok to Malaysia line. The station has two red and white (now cream with age) royal pavilions which were for the monarch's exclusive use.
King Prajadhipok (King Rama VII - 1925-1935) had a summer palace built here which increased the popularity of the area as a luxury resort with those of Thai high society. King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit used to use the palace regularly but seems to have fallen out of favour of late. The Thai Royal Navy use the Royal Palace as an excuse to flex their muscles in the area with a permanent presence of at least three gun boats and some smaller coastal craft.
Hua Hin has a great climate and a reputation as a fine weather, beautiful white sands, long beaches and warm sea, having all the international resort requirements. The European 'package tour' operators have turned the town into just another sun resort.
The property developers are now capitalising on the 'place in the sun' property or condo idea, with flashy sales offices on just about every street.
There must be around a hundred 'made to measure' tailors shops with salesmen that hassle tourists and visitors alike, with 'offers you can't refuse'. We found out that the majority of them are just fronts for factories making machined clothing products and don't actually make anything themselves.
Hua Hin is a great fresh seafood centre - Restaurants around the fishing pier area serve some of the best, even if a little pricey by Thai standards. We found Restaurant Som Moo Joom some of the best priced.
Hua Hin only has a few visitor attractions:
Hua Hin Railway Station, built in the reign of King Rama VI.
Klai Kangwon Palace, built in 1926 in the Spanish style. The summer palace overlooks the sea. Not open to the general public ,even when the Thai Royal Family are not in residence.
Takiap or Ta Kiab and Krailat Hills, are panoramic view-points at the southern end of Hua Hin's beach.
Hua Hin is twinned with another coastal resort at Cha-am in Phetchaburi province 25 km to the south.
Hua Hin has plenty of spa resorts, water sports and golf clubs. After dark it has a good nightlife if you like bars with live music. There is one Thai cultural show, just off the night market with performances starting at 8 PM.
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